A BUDGET that delivers for the South Coast is how Kiama MP Gareth Ward described Tuesday’s state budget.
“A budget that delivers on our promises and realises what were dreams under Labor to reality under a Liberal government,” he said.
“A budget that delivers the infrastructure that Labor neglected to give us for its 16 years in office.
“This is our time.
“We have been able to dramatically reduce Labor’s debt to $8.6 billion and next year’s budget will return to surplus.”
Mr Ward said funds were guaranteed for a number of road projects along the coast.
“It is there in black and white $80 million to start the Berry bypass this year,” he said.
“A project that has been talked about since 1955, a project they told me we’d never be able to do.”
There is also $10 million to continue the planning work on the Princes Highway upgrade between Berry and Bomaderry, $2 million to progress the Shoalhaven River bridge study and $1 million to continue the Albion Park Rail bypass planning work.
There is also $76.5 million to complete the Princes Highway at Gerringong between Mount Pleasant and Toolijooa and $11 million for the feasibility study for the extension of the Princes Motorway (F6) between Loftus and St Peters.
“That extension would be a great benefit to business and for jobs in our region,” Mr Ward said.
“That study would get that project shovel ready.”
Mr Ward said projects awarded money from the Restart Illawarra port lease were funded.
“We have already got $170 million for the Berry bypass over the course of the project, a project costing $580 million, the largest ever single investment in the history of the Princes Highway and that starts today,” he said.
He said the rest of the funds from the lease would be released as the “projects were ready to go”.
On the health front, there were no funds for additional parking at the Shoalhaven Hospital but it was an issue Mr Ward said “there was ongoing discussion about”.
“We have delivered 124 extra spaces already and will continue push for more,” he said.
He said pensioners would continue to get their concessions.
“We will fund the shortfall due to Canberra’s cuts,” he said.
“Pension and senior entitlements that the federal government cut will be preserved by the state.
“We believe those who have worked hard all their lives need to be supported.”
Mr Ward said he would be lobbying for funds from the proposed electricity lease to be spent on the South Coast.
“We won’t know until the program is fully announced as to what is available but I will campaign as much as possible to get our region its share of those funds,” he said.
“That is contingent on our re-election
“Under the 49 per cent lease of state’s remaining electricity assets, prices will be lower and we will be able to restart the state.”
The budget also revealed NSW leads the nation in growth figures at 4.7 per cent and is one of two states to remain with a AAA credit rating.